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New Orleans superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr. expects schools to return to local control

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- The OPSB's new superintendent, Henderson Lewis, center, visited Edna Karr Charter Friday March 27, 2015. He spoke to students like Damian Johnson. At left is principal Harold Clay.

The state took over most New Orleans public schools in 2005 after years of rock-bottom test scores and financial crisis. Henderson Lewis Jr. wants them back. He’s the new superintendent for the Orleans Parish School Board, the local body that used to govern all of the city’s public schools. And in a wide-ranging interview… Continue reading →

UNO to honor Gordon ‘Nick’ Mueller, and other news of higher education

The University of New Orleans will present Gordon “Nick” Mueller with an honorary doctorate during its spring commencement May 15 at the Lakefront Arena. Mueller is a former history professor and administrator at UNO, as well as a driving force behind the creation of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. “Nick Mueller’s… Continue reading →

WWL-TV report: At McMain school in New Orleans, an academic bright spot, videos raise question: Why all the fights?

Image from WWL-TV video -- Recent videos of at least five fights between students at Eleanor McMain, all recorded on school grounds, include both girls and boys going at it, hallway scuffles and another fight in a bus line.

Among open enrollment schools in New Orleans, Eleanor McMain stands out as an academic bright spot, sporting a 90 percent graduation rate and a B state ranking. That’s why recent videos of at least five fights between students were so alarming to Principal Bridgette Frick. The altercations, all recorded on school grounds, included both girls… Continue reading →

Study finds some New Orleans schools tried to screen students

To the uninitiated, they might not seem like major offenses: a school principal deciding not to fill empty seats midyear for fear of attracting too many “less capable” students, or another principal sitting down with the family of a new student to see if the child was the right “fit for our institution.” In the context of… Continue reading →

Delgado taking applications for summer, fall courses, and other news of higher education

Area residents seeking higher educational opportunity are invited to apply to attend Delgado Community College this summer and fall. Day, evening, weekend and online courses are available, and financial aid is available for qualified applicants. Priority registration is underway through May 22 online at and in person at all Delgado… Continue reading →

Progress finally being made on storm-damaged St. John Parish schools

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Teachers and staff were allowed into Lake Pontchartrain Elementary to gather their possessions after the school has been shuttered for nearly two years following Hurricane Isaac's destruction. These trophies will be cleaned up and will once again reside in the school trophy case.

After years of delays, demolition work soon could begin at a LaPlace elementary school that’s been closed since it sustained heavy damage from Hurricane Isaac in 2012. Without discussion, the St. John the Baptist Parish School Board voted Thursday to award a $615,278 contract to ARC Abatement to demolish Lake Pontchartrain Elementary. The… Continue reading →

Jefferson School Board selects Elmwood-based firm for $33 million in wireless technology upgrades

After debating the matter for nearly five hours, the Jefferson Parish School Board late Thursday night selected an Elmwood-based company to carry out about $33 million in upgrades meant to modernize the wireless computer system used by teachers and students in the district. Universal Data Inc. had been recommended by the board’s Executive Committee after… Continue reading →

Orleans School Board deadlocks on choosing interim member but approves new superintendent’s contract

The Orleans Parish School Board finally put nearly three years of deadlock behind it Tuesday night as it approved a contract with the system’s new superintendent worth at least $192,000 a year. But less than an hour later, the board found itself at yet another impasse, unable to muster majority support for any candidate to serve… Continue reading →

Loyola to present ‘Hackcess to Justice,’ and other news of higher education

Loyola to present ‘Hackcess to Justice’ Loyola University, the ABA Journal and the Louisiana State Bar Association will present a social-justice “hackathon” Saturday and Sunday. Called “Hackcess to Justice Louisiana 2015: A Social Justice Hackathon,” the event will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at Loyola’s… Continue reading →

Denzel Washington to give Dillard University’s spring commencement address

FILE - In this Feb. 4, 2013 file photo, actor Denzel Washington, nominated for best actor in a leading role for "Flight," arrives at the 85th Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon in Beverly Hills, Calif. Diahann Carroll and Denzel Washington will play mother and son on Broadway in a spring revival of the classic American play ├ČA Raisin in the Sun." (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

Award-winning actor Denzel Washington will deliver the commencement address at Dillard University on Saturday, May 9, before about 250 graduates, university officials announced Tuesday. Washington has had major roles in numerous films, and has won Oscars for best actor in Training Day and best supporting actor in Glory. Washington most recently appeared in… Continue reading →

UNO to hold Katrina recovery meeting, and other news of higher education

UNO to hold Katrina recovery meeting The University of New Orleans will present a symposium March 27 focusing on the recovery and remaking of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. “A Safe and Just Region? Assessing New Orleans 10 Years After Katrina” will examine issues including disaster preparedness, cultural shifts, historic preservation, housing, transportation and economic… Continue reading →

Lagniappe Academies: Isolated case or sign of widespread problems in educating special-needs students?

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Lagniappe Academies on St. Louis Street in New Orleans during dismissal Friday, March 6, 2015.

Things seemed off right away at Lagniappe Academies, a Treme elementary school where she had just arrived as a first-year teacher. Her class was made up entirely of the lowest-performing students in the grade, she said, but she was not allowed to do anything about it. The teacher, who spoke on condition that her name not… Continue reading →

3rd high-ranking Jefferson Parish public schools official is stepping down

The Jefferson Parish School Board learned Friday that the third high-ranking official since the end of January is leaving her job with the school system. Mary Garton, the chief human capital officer since June 2013, submitted her resignation effective Monday, according to an official school system email Friday. Her interim replacement will be… Continue reading →

Co-discoverer of HIV to speak at Tulane University

Dr. Robert Gallo, a co-discoverer of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the cause of AIDS, will speak at the Tulane Woldenberg Art Center Thursday, March 12, according to a Tulane press release. Gallo will give the keynote address for a three-day symposium, sponsored by the President's Office, that celebrates contributions to infectious disease research by faculty in… Continue reading →

Bat infestation forces KIPP Believe Primary to move to temporary site; school to reopen on Holy Rosary campus Thursday

Photo provided by Marta Jewson, The Lens -- A bat infestation at Benjamin Banneker Elementary School forced KIPP Believe staff to pack up classrooms and relocate.

A bat infestation at KIPP Believe Primary caused school officials to cancel classes Wednesday and scramble to relocate to the Holy Rosary campus in order to resume classes on Thursday. “In the last few days it’s gotten increasingly worse,” School Leader Sarah Beth Greenberg said. An increase of bat sightings at the K-3… Continue reading →

New Orleans charter school hit with scathing accusations on special ed students

The Louisiana Department of Education on Tuesday released a scathing report about an independent charter school in New Orleans called Lagniappe Academies, accusing the Treme school’s leadership of failing to provide services for students with special needs and attempting to hide the fact from state officials. The report came as a rare acknowledgement on the part… Continue reading →

Tulane looking for ways to end annual $20M deficits, won't rule out layoffs

Advocate file photo

Even Tulane University, New Orleans’ richest educational institution, isn’t immune to the financial pressures facing higher education. The 13,500-student university has hired a Chicago consulting firm to find ways to close an annual cash deficit of nearly $20 million and to make the 181-year-old school more efficient. At the same time, Tulane is preparing… Continue reading →

Loyola announces academic reorganization

Advocate staff photo by RUSTY COSTANZA -- Graduates enter the Mercedes-Benz Superdome at the beginning of the Loyola University graduation ceremony last spring. Loyola announced a restructuring of its internal colleges Wednesday.

In its second major shake-up since Hurricane Katrina, Loyola University announced Wednesday that it will reshuffle its academic programs as part of a long-range plan aimed at coping with the university’s flagging enrollment and its multimillion-dollar deficit. The new plan scraps a school formed during Loyola’s last, controversial restructuring in 2006, splitting its departments… Continue reading →

Amid budget cuts, declining enrollment Loyola reveals restructing plan that restores, cuts colleges

Advocate staff photo by JOHN MCCUSKER -- Loyola University, New Orleans, Wednesday, July 10, 2013. Loyola announced a restructuring of its colleges Wednesday, February 25, 2015.

Loyola University in New Orleans has announced restructuring plans that include the restoration of the university's College of Arts and Sciences and the creation of a new College of Graduate and Professional Studies. The move comes as the university deals with declining enrollment and budget deficits in recent years. In its announcement Wednesday, the university said that the new College… Continue reading →